A.) Salvation is not in a name, be it the glorious name of JESUS, but there is NO salvation apart from the Man whom the angel of the Lord named JESUS (Matthew 1:20-21).
B.) There is no salvation in creature good works (Isaiah 64:6; Titus 3:5). However, salvation and eternal life are realized through the substitutionary labor of Him Who said unto His Father: “… I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do” (John 17:3-4). Good works are the fruit (not the root) of salvation, and are glorious (Matthew 5:16), but they are never the cause of it.
C.) Baptism is a glorious ordinance, but as wonderful as baptism is, it is yet a creature work, and is therefore destitute of saving virtue.
D.) Every New Testament church is glorious (Ephesians 5:27), but the strongest and most faithful church is yet powerless to save, for salvation is the exclusive work of Him Who bought the church with His own blood (Acts 20:28).
E.) The gospel is not merely glorious, but infinitely excels the glory of all the Old Testament covenants which preceded it (II Corinthians 3:6-11). Nevertheless, as glorious as the gospel is (II Corinthians 4:4; I Timothy 1:11), it is spiritually sterile, and cannot give life, or help to give life. Yet, it has pleased God to use the gospel of Christ in the regeneration of His elect people (John 5:24; Romans 1:16; I Corinthians 4:15, etc., etc.,) and there is no salvation apart from the glorious gospel of Christ (John 5:24; I Peter1:23).
F.) Repentance is glorious, and is essential to salvation (Luke 13:3, 5), but repentance does not save. In another place, Luke records the words of the Lord, wherein He says: “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).
G.) Faith is glorious, and like repentance, it is indispensable in the work of salvation. But, again, like repentance, faith is not salvation. Oft times theologians refer to faith as “Saving faith”, but their meaning is not that the “faith” is the Saviour, but that it is impossible to please God without faith (Hebrews 11:6). Paul says: “… He (God) which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). God-given repentance and faith are the means which manifest the Authorship and finishing work of God in salvation (Isaiah 43:11). Man does not initiate his salvation, nor does he carry it one step forward, for salvation is of the Lord, from regeneration to glorification (Isaiah 26:12; Luke 17:10).
THE GLORIOUS GOSPEL AND ARMINIANISM
Arminianism is a theory regarding sin and salvation, and gets its name from Jacobus (James) Arminius who lived in Holland (1560-1609). A simple definition of Arminianism is: “The depravity inherited from Adam is the cause of sin, sickness, and death, but this depravity is not total or absolute.” Arminianism claims that man’s sin in Adam was not voluntary, and God being just, gave man a will and ability to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in His redemptive work, if he so chooses. Which choice, when exercised, is sufficient to negate the curse of sin inherited from their original ancestor, Adam.
Many and various are the heresies that Satan has invented, and with which he has permeated pseudo Christianity, but none are more subtle and dangerous than Arminianism, for Arminianism cloaked in Biblical phraseology deceives man by making him the determiner of his eternal destiny. In which determination, the preacher has had a part, the church has had a part, but God is passive, anxiously waiting on the sidelines to see if man will do his part. Such foolishness would have the Lord walking away from a church service, saying within Himself, “I wish the church would have sung one more verse of ‘Softly and Tenderly … Jesus is pleading … see on the portals He is waiting and watching’, someone might have made Me his helper in salvation.” The Arminian may charge me with sarcasm in the above quoted statement, but be that as it may, the logic of the quote cannot be gainsaid.
Salvational competence is not, nor has it ever been, in the power of men or angels; and Arminianism with all its power and popularity is a soul-damning fallacy, for fallen man’s volitional power is in its every exercise anti-God (Genesis 6:5; Psalm 50:21; Jeremiah 17:9). Paul said: “The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain. Therefore let no man glory in men …” (I Corinthians 3:20-21). “So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy” (Romans 9:16). Man’s heart, by nature, is foolish and darkened (Romans 1:21), and one of the most supreme intellects in the family of man, said: “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool” (Proverbs28:26).
Arminianism is a Christ debasing error, for it attributes salvational efficacy to the fallen and utterly depraved nature of man. But the Scriptures are replete with clear contradictions of this insidious departure from the truth, some of which Scripture I now refer the reader to: “It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing” (John 6:63). “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing …” (Romans 7:18). Paul tells the Ephesian saints that they were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world, that they were predestinated unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, and that all of these blessings were according to the eternal and “good pleasure of God’s will” (Ephesians 1:4-5). The term “will” in this Scripture is a function word, showing the source of all the action stated therein, and leaves no doubt as to Who (not what) is the Author and Finisher of salvation. “Salvation is of the Lord”, plus nothing (Jonah 2:29).
To super induce the glorious truth of the unmerited favor of God in the deliverance of His people who were without hope, “… and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12), Paul reminds the Ephesians of their ill state in nature, and of God’s sovereign and remedial grace, saying: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8, 9). “Not of yourselves …” There goes the vaunted will of man, with all its bragging, and vain works. There goes the fickle work of intellectualism, with its assumed power of decisional salvation. There goes the fictitious claim of baptismal regeneration and every other effort of man to commend himself to the saving favor of God.
It would be easier for a man to lift himself up by his own bootstraps, than it would be to will himself out of the horrible pit and the miry clay of his old nature (Psalm 40:2). It would be easier for a quadriplegic to swim the Atlantic Ocean from New York to London and back, than it would be for the carnal mind to have one thought that is pleasing unto God (Romans 8:7-8). Salvation is by the sovereign and free grace of God, and there are NO substitutes for God’s grace, be it extreme morality or the giving of one’s wealth, be it ever so vast, to the relief of the poor and starving. Simply, human works, be they ever so commendable, cannot save or help to save any of the numberless host of Adam’s children. The God of salvation, said: “I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another” (Isaiah 42:8).